Review: Forefront Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Releases

Forefront, the second label from Napa Valley producer Pine Ridge, continues to produce affordable blends using grapes from all over California. We tried the latest release of Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Of special note: This holiday season, the winery is giving $1 per bottle sold to a local food bank. 2010 Forefront Pinot Noir –…

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Review: Lights Out Relaxation Products

Relaxation mania continues with Lights Out, a whole series of products designed to help you sleep more evenly, fight stress, anxiety, jet lag, and all that other bad stuff. Lights Out contains chamomile, skullcap, rose hips, valerian root, L-theanine, and GABA, but it’s probably the 5mg of melatonin that really does the trick. The 2-oz.…

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Review: Kilchoman Inaugural 100% Islay

We’ve been covering the quarterly releases from Kilchoman — established in 2005, it’s the first distillery built in Islay for 124 years — since mid-2010, and finally the distillery is releasing its “Inaugural” whisky. That, of course, is a bit of a misnomer, since Kilchoman has released at least eight whiskys that I’m aware of…

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Review: Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper

You’ve probably been wondering about this for years: Why doesn’t Southern Comfort partner with Tabasco on a liqueur? You’re reading everything right: SoCo now comes in a “Fiery Pepper” version, bringing, uh, the best of two worlds together. SoCo isn’t the first company to try this. We’ve reviewed several pepper-infused tequilas in the past. But…

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Review: Weyerbacher Insanity

How can a brewery improve on its already successful barleywine? Weyerbacher suggests throwing it in some bourbon barrels. Weighing in at 11.10% abv, Insanity is Weyerbacher’s twist on the English Barleywine style, letting its normal Blithering Idiot age in oak casks to pick up a slew of new, complex characteristics. Upon first sniff, Insanity seems…

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Review: MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky “Shackleton”

In 1907 Ernest Shackleton was setting off on his “Nimrod” expedition to the South Pole. Along for the ride: 25 cases of whisky from the Glen Mhor Distillery, to keep the spirits of the sailors up. Shackleton didn’t quite make it to the Pole on this trip, and he had to leave behind some of…

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Review: Wente Heritage Block Series Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Releases

These two new releases come from Wente’s Heritage Block series of simpler, everyday wines. 2010 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay Arroyo Seco Monterey – Traditional in style, with that hugely buttery body, grilled and smoked meats on the nose, and a long, savory finish. B / $20 2009 Wente Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley –…

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Review: 2007 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Lineup

Conn Creek is a Napa-based winery founded in the 1970s that makes wines almost exclusively from Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grapes. Today it produces dozens of wines, including many single-vineyard wines from all over Napa Valley (called the AVA series). We checked out four of these wines, plus the less expensive, blended “Napa Valley”…

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